tv Navy Secretary Richard Spencer Comments CSPAN December 4, 2017 10:34pm-11:20pm EST
the mission so intelligence is critical. -- in living in a time the past intelligence was important but it is critical today. the relationship between intelligence and military, that partnership is more important than ever. prior to 9/11, it was more stovepipe. everybody did not think. after 9/11 there was a wrecking issued you have to work together will stop -- to work together. wasave -- after 9/11 there the consensus that you have to work together. provided intelligence on targets, military one after those targets. we were doing paramilitary operations in iraq, and afghanistan, and i am sure they are doing the same thing. i will tell you probably the height in my experience of watching that relationship work was on the bin laden operation
because we put together the intelligence, we did all of the backup work, we looked at the compound, and we knew in order to conduct that information we seals to doilitary that. they didn't based on our intelligence and they did a great job. that is great example of the partnership that is essential for these flashpoints. >> i know you can't get specific but can you explain how the cia is ramping up operations against terrorists? inherited aneo: i operation that has been at this for a long time. 15 plus years after 9/11. in the machine. the counterterrorism machine was well in place, no doubt about that thanks to the good works of my predecessors. but that fight has changed in material waste.
syria and iraq held a lot of real estate. different than what we've seen before. worked to continue to build that team to deliver so that partners around the world, department of defense and international, could continue to take down terrorists wherever we find them. it is also the case the president made the decision to have a commitment in south asia, not permanent but to recommit to being there until weekend bring them to the negotiating table in a way that would not make them think they can win and on the battlefield. our partners can deliver that to secretary tillerson. >> you mentioned afghanistan. obviously the president has committed more troops there the real pressure is to get past and to move the ball and affect the taliban. had you do that effectively? will you continue strikes on
terrorist groups inside pakistan? how do you move that? their begin by seeking assistance. secretary mattis is traveling to the region before too long and and deliver the message that says, we would love you to do that. that is, that safe haven inside pakistan has worked to the detriment of our capacity to do what we need to do in afghanistan. in the absence of the pakistanis achieving that, we will do whatever we can to achieve it. >> you dealt with that as secretary of defense. i was talking to secretary schulz earlier. i went to recognize secretary schulz in the front row. it is great to have you here, sir. [applause] >> and, he was telling me about , youfghanistan is treated know, as a whole country but in
reality it is controlled as we know by these kind of warlords in different pockets of afghanistan. talk about the challenge of dealing with place like afghanistan. after all the years, it is the longest war with had with america. a challenge and frankly that is the reason we're still there and still plagued because it is not easy. it is not easy. it wasgot afghanistan -- the place where al qaeda came together and developed plans for 9/11. we drove into afghanistan and the leadership from al qaeda made its way into the tribal areas and pakistan so we then had to take them on an pakistan and thanks to the agency that we were involved with, i think we did one hell of a job going after their leadership. at afghanistan remains
continuing challenge. for a lot of reasons. first of all, the challenge of being able to go after the television effectively -- the the taliban in a way that not only goes after the securesbut then afterwards. the problem is we go after them, then they are right back. we've worked with intelligence forces to develop capability and i think we have gotten much better at the job we're doing, i actually think that you know, we have improved a great deal. but it the same time, you know, they need to have u.s. support and that effort. is notse if the u.s. there assisting them they are not going to do the kind of job
that needs to be done so that is why it is important that the u.s. be involved. thirdly, it it remains a country that continues to have a lot of corruption and central government, as a result of that corruption, does not have a lot of sway with the tribal leaders and various other leaders in afghanistan. until they get that act together, you are going to be dealing with different tribes that have different approaches dealing with the tele-ban and enemy. with the lastly, pakistan. pakistan has always been a problem. it has been a safe haven for terrorists to come across the border and attack in afghanistan and then go back into pakistan. have made every effort possible during the time i was there to convince pakistan to stop. but pakistan, as mike knows, pakistan has this kind of
two-edged approach to dealing with terrorism. on one hand, yes, they do not like terrorism or attacks from terrorism in the country but at the same time, they do not mind using terrorists as leverage to deal with afghanistan and to deal with india. that is the policy of faith have been involved with so pakistan has always been a question. hope jim mattis is successful at making it clear to the pakistanis they have to be able to go after the terrorists within their own territory. unless that happens, we will continue to have problems. >> has something changed significantly in recent months on that front? >> not yet. [laughter] >> ok. [laughter]
>> ok, while you are so forthcoming let's talk about north korea. we spent a lot of time talking theeneral mcmaster about threat from north korea and historically our intelligence is not perfect and north korea. is there a sense, do we know how close north korea is to mastering reentry technology for ?heir icbm's >> we do. i cannot talk a lot about it other than to say general mcmasters says we are closer. every day they are working to hold. our intelligence is good. we have a pretty good understanding of the scale of how far they are making progress towards being able to reliably deliver that system against the united states. >> these are ominous statements. what we heard from general mcmasters, what we hear from other officials i've only.
that we are closer to some kind of military action potentially in north korea. it is possible diplomacy does not work as we have seen and unfold and that china cannot or .ill not control kim jong-un is america prepared militarily and politically to go to work the north korea to detect united states and our allies in the region? [crosstalk] >> the president has been pretty clear that he wants to denuclearize north korea. he is been pretty clear. our efforts are diplomatic and consistence. sincetelligence community director panetta has said it is rational but we also think he does not have an understanding about how tenuous his vision is domestically and internationally. those around him are not feeding him the truth about the place
where he finds himself, how precarious his position is in the world today. it is probably not easy to tell -- jong-un bad news but [laughter] >> i have earned -- learned the art of nuance in my short tenure. we are hoping china will exert its power and we will be able to resolve this in way that does not require the military power that no one wants to use. >> there is this fear that we are getting closer. of this?ure sensible >> well i think the national security director was right. it is probably the most dangerous threat in a series of dangerous points in the world. it is one of the dangers we're facing right now because it is cleared north korea's focused on thatng an icbm, developing miniaturized nuclear weapon that
would go on top of that icbm and if you look at these tests even though it is mixed results, the bottom line is it will continue to improve the icbms and i think they are very close to being able to develop an icbm that can reach the united states. that is a direct threat to the security of the united states admittedly, as mike has pointed out, there are not a lot of good options here. mattis has done exactly the same thing. the problem is as pointed out today, there are risks involved. the risk is destroying soul, killing one million people in a nuclear war. easy towhy it is not try to figure out how do we do this. you are left with frankly containment and deterrence
whether you like it or not. containment and deterrence. we have to continue to strengthen our position there. strengthen our military. strengthen the south koreans. i would deploy more, give them more capabilities the same as the japanese. at the same time you have to improve the intelligence capabilities of both south korea and japan as well as our capabilities. i do not know. mike knows more about this he probably cannot tell you but the reality is it is a hard target. north korea is tough. not easy to get inside and try to figure out what this guy's going to do and we're been trying to do that and i think we have had some success trying to penetrate but it is tough. we need to constantly improve our intelligence. we need to continue to squeeze on the sanctions and put pressure on china to try to convince north korea to come to
the negotiating table. those of the levers we have got right now. we have to keep pushing. i think one of the most important things we have to do is we have to develop a missile shield. shield.tive missile not only using south korea and japan but obviously our own capabilities so that these missiles that take off we have the tape ability to hit them quickly and make sure we can do .t at some point they have to pay a price for this kind of constant testing their involved with and the one-way we're going to do that is if we improve our missile capability which i think it's absolutely essential to our ability to protect our own security. >> defense, the reagan library, that is pretty good. [laughter] >> i think secretary panetta's right about this idea but we should not forget this is not only nuclear power but enormous
conventional power as well. to the extent kim jong-un develops capability to hold america at risk it may be the casey not only uses it as a shield, we talk about is imperative for maintenance of the regime, but if he has the capacity he might well you said offensively. to that nuclear umbrella attack other places, to gain control and exert greater influence. it is not simply the threat of the use of nuclear weapons but kim jong-un's capability to use nuclear capacity to further other things besides just protection of the regime that he might have on his mind. >> i asked general master but in this environment, is it ok to go to the olympics -- general mcmaster this, but in this environment is it ok to go to the olympics? ask just, of course. --ughter]
>> yes. of course. [laughter] >> you were one of the kind most who spoke out against iran a lot. beyond just the nuclear deal but their support of terrorism around the region. if donald trump ask you today, is around bang in full technical compliance with the iran deal, what would you tell him? >> they are insubstantial compliance with the nuclear provisions of that agreement. as earth the other thing around bang is doing not part of that deal, it has only increased in your eyes? >> there's no doubt about that. pasteed only look to the few weeks and the efforts of the iranians to exert influence in northern iraq in addition to other places to see that a rainy and efforts to be the hegemon of power throughout the middle east
continues to increase. -- iranian efforts to be the hegemon of power throughout the middle east continues to increase. forces out of his control might threaten u.s. interests and iraq. [crosstalk] >> his commander has also indicated a willingness to potentially attack u.s. forces in iraq and with the consent of the iraqi government. meet, did not like my heart. what we communicated to him in a letter was that we would hold him and around bang accountable for any attacks on u.s. forces in iraq that were under his control. we wanted to make sure he and the leadership understood that in a way that was crystal clear. we are there on an important mission on behalf of the iraqi government and we intend to stay there as long as the iraqi government wants us to to perform that important mission.
syria,n't the u.s. in working for russia, providing cover for ran? it seems like three-dimensional chess. you move on peace and there are three other pieces moving. >> incredibly complicated. from an intelligence perspective, we want to make sure we can continue to do it to be in the places that we need to be so there is an understanding of the russian intentions, rain intentions, opposition forces intentions, kurdish intentions inside of fdf and other laces. we want to make sure we can deliver for secretary mattis so the issue can be resolved in a way that benefits america. greg secretary panetta, the differences in geopolitical -- >> secretary panetta, the differences in geopolitical from
this administration to obama's administration, do you want to comment? secretary panetta: mike's point, they are abiding by the nuclear agreement. that is pretty much recognize. i had serious concerns about that agreement and i am sure mike and the president had serious concerns about that agreement. the reality is, with regards to developing a nuclear weapon, that is something we want to continue to focus on to ensure we are enforcing that and they are abiding by. that is essential. at the same time, we have to address these other areas. it is important that we put pressure and we continue to put pressure on iran with regards to their support for terrorism. with regards to their missile development.
with regards to their under minding of regimes throughout the middle east. withnk they are involved developing an axis of influence in the middle east to lebanon to damascus and syria and iraq a. mike and thet intelligence forces i am sure on top of this, but i talked to a former leader in a raqqa the other day -- in iraq the other day on one thing he expressed concerned with is we have been successful obviously and going in and defeating isis and, you know, being able to go up to the what happens is if we begin to reduce our forces in iraq, we went through this before. of we reduce our presence there, a ran will take advantage of it -- a ran bank will take advantage of it and they already
are. this individual said, wherever you go, you see iranian forces trying to play a role. alarms for the united states to make sure that does not happen. there are differences with been through. the reality is, they want to have a nation but in order to have a nation you have got to be able to be there to support them and to try to make sure that they develop the kind of parliamentary and governmental approach that allows each of the segments, whether it is sunni, kurds, shia, to pretend spain in the government. that is the only way iraq eventually is going to be able to find security. >> but a rainy and intelligence -- but iranian intelligence, we never know what we don't knows so we ask, are they in substantial compliance with the jcpoa, we always don't know what
we don't know. try to deliver that intelligence to the community and the related issue is the example, 40 plus missiles and rockets fired from yemen into saudi arabia or towards the mri these. ortiz --arkable -- m r mirates. -- >> you mentioned saudi arabia. can i get your thoughts on where the region stands? >> sure. a big question.
i am not sure where to put my pick in to begin. some of the things you see taken place in saudi arabia are the kind of things we have been asking saudi arabia to do for decades. we should encourage and support it. they have been prepared to work alongside our golf partners. we have seen them work with the israelis to push back against terrorism throughout the middle east. to the extent we can develop those relationships and work alongside them, the gulf states and broader middle east will probably be far more secure. >> i think that is correct. arabia, we have been asking them for a long time to deal with the issues that the crown prince is trying to deal with in terms of developing a diversified economy, in terms of trying to control corruption within the saudi society, trying to basically build a strong
nation from the inside whether his tactics are the right tactics remains to be seen. but i think his objectives are probably the right ones. saudi arabia is a key player. i mentioned this to mike before we came on, that it is incredibly important that in the middle east where we have fail states. bang --d ran, -- around iran, that are working together to confront challenges. countries can't do it on their own. together, some kind of coalition of countries of arab countries working with the united states, working with israel, working with turkey to build a strong polish and that can operate i
think, frankly, with the joint military headquarters that can terrorists know, the and that region that can basically worked together to try isprovide stability where it necessarily need countries. i mean, you know, the arab spring produced a lot of convulsions. forever develop a formula stability in that region. the arab countries that are there have a better sense of how you work to establish stability. i think the development of a strong coalition to deal with iranhallenge from a ran -- and al qaeda is extremely important and the saudi's, frankly, are incredibly important to that ability to add that kind of coalition. youirector pompeo,
mentioned president trump and delivering intelligent still. you talked before about how you do that. i wonder if you venture that, how you deliver intelligence and how the president receives that and kind of his interaction. i am in washington, deliver the intelligence briefing to president trump nearly every day. i have become an amateur historian about how different presidents receive information. some presidents chose to do it one wet the beginning and change over time. i come in, i bring one of my officers with me. the vice president is there nearly every day. general mcmaster, general coates is often never. that is the team. we deliver the set of things he needs to know that happens overnight. the set of things we think are important for him to know in the week that if he is traveling more has someone coming to visit that we need to make sure is fully briefed on. we use a portion of time to share with them what we think are of strategic importance that
we can plan and intelligence for the months and years ahead. a half an hour to 45 minutes every day. he asks last of hard questions. roxy is very engaged and appreciative of the information. i've seen him time and again rely on the information we provided him to inform his decisions. >> when you see these stories that he is losing it or he is not with it where he is totally checked out, what do you think? >> it is absurd. [laughter] [applause] >> i will put it in washington terms. it is demonstrably false. [laughter] >> look, i am literally with him. the team is with him.
to provide and try the information he and secretary tillerson and secretary mcmaster needs. he spends a lot of time staring at these things. he is taught us a lot of things. how to think about economic ideas and consider who has the money and how that will impact decisions around the world. that is how intelligence communities ought to operate. >> to be clear, it is a back-and-forth every day? >> almost every day. >> secretary panetta, you were on television recently after the president retweeted those videos and he said -- you said retreating tweeting the muslim videos with like play with ira. talk about that. secretary panetta: it is dangerous. mike for the ability to sit down and brief the
president and have the president listen to the intelligence reports. important and i was worried about that at the beginning. but if mike is doing that and the president is engaged, that is extremely important to the president ring able to do the job. the president cannot operate without intelligence. ability toor the develop an approach that obviously is one that is working. i appreciate that. tweetingem of suddenly and anti-muslim video like that whatat once it goes out, it does is it in flames people out there and we had very much
the same kind of experience in the time that i was there when koranwere karen -- burnings that found their way to video and when that went out to video it resulted in several demonstrations taking place at various embassies and the problem is that lives can be jeopardized. i think it is really important that the president understand. i'm not sure he fully understood maybe the implications of what he was doing but it is clear that it is not something he should do, because when you do that, when you tweet something like that out there you do not know what the consequences are going to be in the consequences could involve lives. so better not to do that. i hope he will refrain from doing that in the future. >> twitter makes your job harder. for lots ofitter
things in the intelligence community. [laughter] >> their days with good days and days -- [indiscernible] -- >> i don't know that that is the case. i've seen it help us. things the president has put on his twitter account has actually oura real-world effect on ability to understand the world. people have responded in ways that were help all to us, to understand command-and-control, who is listening to messages, how the messages are resonating in the world. my son knows my views on social media. it is not ambiguous. maybe that is enough. >> how about just reacting to secretary panetta. >> i do not have much to add. the president, in my experience,
when we talked to the president about the threat from radical islamic terrorism, understands it is incredibly important that we address the malign behavior in a way that reflects opportunities to make americans safer. >> let me comment on the you know,hing and obviously this will be different than mike's view. as a former chief of staff, i cannot imagine what it is like to survey president who tweets in the morning. the whole purpose of the white house is to develop some discipline in terms of messaging, policy, everybody being on the same page when you get up and everybody knows what the president is going to be doing, with the message of the day is, everybody is coordinated. when you wake up in the morning if you are chief of staff andy
you are sending out a bunch of tweets out there that are raising all kinds of hell in different areas, you know, it is very upsetting to the operation. you have to figure out, how do i deal with that stuff? president loves to tweet. frankly, if i had my way i would tweeter andader -- throw it out the window. i understand he likes to tweet. at the very least if he likes to tweet and wants to tweet, he should have some policy process the policieshether you want to advance and then tweak the hell -- and then tweet the hell out of this. not do it by the seat of your hands. if there were at least a check system where he says, i want to
tweet out this muslim video, what do you think john kelly? what do you think mike pompeo? at least if there is some kind of a check on the process, we would be one hell of a lot better off. i expressed the concern of how chain develop discipline, of command, rational policy process in the white house when you have got somebody who loves , gets up at 5:00 the morning and says whatever the hell he wants to say. it raises a little bit of concern about accountability. spent too long on this already. [laughter] >> sorry, i opened the door. >> one last thought. secretary mattis said gravely the world is more dangerous today.
there are more flashpoints. that'll existed before january 20 of this year. message discipline goddess to those places. , right?o those places what i mean is, we should not over attribute the place we find ourselves in the world today to things that may or may not have .s much impact >> a lot of republican presidents i know exercised a lot of message discipline and that was not so bad. we find ourselves today is a trajectory of post-world war ii conflict or you can say post 9/11 conflict. we found ourselves there with republican and democrats alike. this is not present. >> anderson what you're saying, mike. president's the motives. but it needs to be tied to a strategy. you don't just roll a grenade into the room and have things blow up and then not have a
strategy of how you deal with it. >> moving along -- [laughter] >> let me get to a process questions to something you both have dealt with. osama bin laden raid under the obama administration led to what was called at the time a treasure trove of documents. the last day of the obama administration, january 19, the dni released a statement saying they had released all relevant documents captured during the bin laden raid. that total was 571. ant month to you released additional 470,000 documents recovered and that rate. among them, bin laden's handwritten journal of jihad describing how he was much more engaged in all of these satellite terrorist groups.
my question to you first is, why do you think the statement was made that that was it. 500 some new one documents. >> i would not care to speculate to be honest with you. i will even it to the previous administration to explain this decision. i would not want to. i put them out there because i am doing my darndest to be as transparent as i can whenever we find an opportunity to do that in way that does not risk american lives were makes america more secure. we felt like there might be some learning that could take place if the documents were released and the risk to american security interest was very, very low so we did what good government people do and we released the documents to the public to evaluate and inform their own judgment. we have done our work and cannot
say much mobile we found but you can go read it and see what others have found. >> during the reelection campaign in 2012, president obama repeatedly said al qaeda was on the run. john brennan said al qaeda would see its to mice before 2020 but today we have a rejuvenated al qaeda that has improved its ability to control more terrace. alno isis has taken a hit, qaeda is still strong. do you think president obama underestimated al qaeda because of ideological thinking at the time? >> well, terrorism is a challenge to deal with because it metastasizes. we are dealing with an enemy that is able to be resilient, make a judgment, go from al qaeda to al-nusra to isis and other forms. the boko haram, al-shabab.
there are a lot of elements. you have to target one jew can go after and do an effective job in doing that and we did. target who you can go after and do an effective job in doing that, and we did. we decapitated the leadership, particularly with the bin laden raid. is al qaedaity then, you know, developed in yemen. isis developed. etc. you have to continue the effort in these other areas. you have to be able to target the different forms of terrorism that are developing. i think the obama administration in the last few years begin to recognize that we could not just
ignore what was happening and so counterterrorism capabilities began to be established not only in yemen but in north africa and other places to try to make sure that they would take on what happened here. but the reality is that if you do not stick to it, if you suddenly declare victory, which i think, you know, nobody should do when it comes to terrorism but when you commit yourself to going after each of these, as different as they are, that is the only way ultimately we're going to be able to win at terrorism. it is not going to happen overnight. mistakes have been made. we learned a lot. i think the administration, frankly, i'm dealing with isis has really done a great job going after isis and the caliphate. i think the row question is, can
we go after boko haram? and we go after al-shabab? can we go after other elements of al qaeda and continue to do an effective job? it is going to be a challenge and require resources and i think the guest concern register here at this forum is going to be the issue of whether or not tohave sufficient resources provide the counterterrorism capabilities we're going to need to defeat terrorism. leado weeks ago, the terrorism reporter at the new york times suggested the obama administration downplayed intelligence of the threat of al qaeda. do think she was right? rexam was certainly not true when i was there. what happened after i left, who knows. that was certainly not true when i was there. left,er happened after i who knows.
we are obviously engaged in africa militarily and i assume we are doing things on the intelligence side. can you talk about the threat in africa radley and what you are seeing there? >> there is a history of terrorism there. we cannot say enough about the amazing work director panetta's leadership did to decapitate al qaeda leadership. it was remarkable. many of those officers still work for me today and america benefits from that. africa is the same way, a constant challenge. it is changing because the caliphate has been largely defeated. there is great risk that isis and others will use platforms in and year and -- in niger elsewhere to put americans at risk which is what the government constantly asks us to look at.
we are interested in terror that presents an external threat from those places coming to the homeland and africa is no different in the sense that it presents that risk to us today and isis makes version 3.0 africa certainly one of them places in addition to south asia that we figure we will find them. >> secretary panetta i have heard you talk about the threats of cyber and what is evolving in the world. i would like to have you address that and kind of talk to the american people about what we are saying. >> i think we tend to underestimate the threat from cyber. i do not know whether it is because we are wrapped up in our cell phones or computers. you know, do not think really somehow it can be used as a weapon but it can be used as a weapon and very effectively. we have seen what happens in
cyber in interrupting services. we have seen what cyber and do stealing intellectual property and hacking and stealing personal information. the reality is that cyber can be used to destroy. arendt developed something they deployed against aramco oil and saudi arabia. were destroyed. you take that same kind of virus and planted on the computers that run our electrical grid or financial system or government system or chemical system or water system or transportation system and you could paralyze this country. you don't have to send a b-2 bomber, f-16, boots on the ground. you could set at a computer someplace and deploy a virus.
that is the threat we are living under and it is its we wake up to that, developed defenses, confront that, and develop the offensive system as well in order to make sure we go after an enemy that is trying to target us on a cyber capability. >> can you quantify the cyber threat numbers or cyber threat day today? >> i don't know how to quantify but i can say it is becoming more rampant because it is becoming increasingly cheap. that is, the cost has been greatly reduced. about actors, right? it is one thing to talk about the tool. one thing that has increasingly presented a threat that was not as rampant as when leon was are not onlyhat we facing a cyber threat from nationstates but from
non-nationstates as well. the cyber capability of isis, al qaeda, groups like wikileaks and others present real threats to america and the traditional community has traditionally focused on state actors. intelligence agencies, taking down networks was based off and .n a nationstate model individuals, small groups, can do lots of damage in a way that only nationstates could do damage 15 or 20 years ago. terrorism,al islamic that's tuesday. ]laughter that is why at the end of the day i always had a good scotch. with a cup of water.